Congress is debating changes to the federal estate tax exemption, and some lawmakers have called for outright repeal. The decision carries particular weight for D.C. and Maryland residents because the D.C. Council and Maryland General Assembly have decided that starting in 2018 and 2019 respectively their local/state estate tax exemptions will match federal law.
If no changes were made to federal law, the District of Columbia in 2018 would exempt $5.49 million from the local estate tax (or about $11 million for couples who file the right paperwork), effectively repealing the tax for most people. However, if the federal government increases the exemption or gets rid of the federal tax completely, this will have implications for District of Columbia.
Following suit, Maryland will increase its exemption to $4 million in 2018 and then plateau at $5.49 million in 2019, assuming no changes to federal law. But like D.C., Maryland's 2019 rates could be influenced by choices made within coming months by Congress.
For the remainder of 2017, D.C. will continue to tax estates with a gross value of more than $2 million and in Maryland the exemption is $3 million. Laws and budgets can change. So, please always make sure your information is current before making any decisions.
Paul Oliver Eisler, J.D. writes about legal issues that affect people and industries in the District of Columbia and Maryland.